Dear readers, I can’t but share with you these wonderful photos from the ritual of «Klidonas» in Ikaria which took place on Saturday, June 24 in a little chapel celebrating Saint John in the forest just outside Christos Raches. Related to summer solstice, this ritual is practiced in many places around the world in wilder or milder ways. The description of the ritual is this:
«The 24th of June is one of the biggest summer festivals of Greek tradition, since the feast of St. John the “Klidonas” is accompanied by the traditional custom of burning the flower wreaths of May and passing over the fires.
The nickname «Klidonas» comes from the ancient Greek word «κλήδων» (klidon), meaning “the predictor sound” and was used to describe the combination of random and incoherent words during a divination ceremony.
Essentially «Klidonas» is associated with a folk, divination process, which is said to reveal to the unmarried girls the identity of their future husband.
According to custom, on the eve of St. John’s celebration, the single girls are gathered in one of the houses of the village and one of them goes to the well to bring the «silent water». It is called that way because she must speak to no one of the way to and back from the well.
At home they pour the water into a clay pot in which each girl throws a personal object, called “rizikari” (coming from the word “riziko” which means destiny). Then and then they cover up the pot with a red cloth and tie it up while praying in St. John. Afterwards they place the pot in open space, where it stays overnight. On that same night, Is said that the girls will see in their dreams their future spouse.
Meanwhile, on the eve of Saint John celebration also revives the well-known custom with fires: At the village square they light a big fire where everybody burns the flower wreaths they made on Mayday, and over which all the villagers jamb. According to the tradition, the fire brings catharsis and people are exempted from evil.»
But enough with Greek lore. Take a look at the photos! 😀
It’s fun! Isn’t it!?
Add to it the sound of the big bass drum banging over the fire jumpers!
Here is a funny picture. It’s a traditionallandmark or *road sign* on the trail from one end of Ikaria to the other. I won’t write the name, because it’s too obvious (oh no, it’s not a turtle!..). I discovered and took a photo of it because instead of the existant path, I followed my old neighbour’s instructions. They went like a story : when we walked from M. to R. first we had to see «the hat»,then «the hare’s ears», then «the big X»,then «the club» and then….»tin ps.. (BiiiiiP) …» (lots of laughter).
My old friend knew all this because for some mysterious reason their family used to keep gardens in some incredibly distant place in summer. She as a young girl and everybody else trotted the mountain so often and casually as we take the bus, walk or drive to work everyday.
The landscape and the trails have changed since then.
(A lot ofirreparable damage has happened too -but never mind now…)
Still the most important landmarks stand in place. Hikers put their own smaller ones every year. On my way I saw some very brilliant «ars tempora» constructions (see my Flickr «signage set» for more). These piles of stoneswill only last for a few months. But they are so friendly. It’s as if I saw the man or the woman who erected them.
Btw, maybe it’s not a coincidence and the photo is not out of time.
It’s SUMMER SOLISTICE. 😀
Do you know the old European legends connected with this period? So profane… (blush, blush, blush) In old Greece they jumped over fires all night long. The fires of St. John, the Kledonas (= *the locker* or *the unlocker* of secrets) This old practice survives (or has been revived?) in Ikaria on St. John’s day. It has to do with the tightening of the young fruit and crops on the way to ripeness, I guess.
😀 (τα τζιτζικια ξεκινησαν το τραγουδι τους στην Ικαρια)
Thomas K. Shor about his visits and his photographic project in Ikaria which resulted in the publication of a wonderful bool: ….. 2. Landscapes from the Greek Island of Ikaria «I first went to Ikaria in search of the Greece I knew from years ago and feared was gone with the advent of the Euro and the general homogenization that has overtaken so many places in the last years. Even as I went there, I feared it was but a dream I was chasing. I was looking for a photo/writing project and was ready to reflect upon whatever I encountered.» «To my surprise, and delight, I found on Ikaria a vestige of the Greece I once knew (and wrote about in my first book, Windblown Clouds), and I felt immediately welcomed and at home. The place resonated with me. But my even greater surprise is that though I’ve been writing about my experience of the island and the people I encountered, the main project to date emerging from my extended stays on the island is not stories from nor portraits of the island’s inhabitants —neither written or photographic— nor my extensive research into the island’s history; what has emerged is a series of landscape photographs from a particular region of the island’s upper mountainous reaches. These heights are far from human habitation, where the elements are powerful, where stone and wind produce balancing boulders with strangely animate shapes, where clouds cloak the mountains, then lift to reveal trees twisted into knots. Spending hours a day up there for weeks on end, sometimes entirely alone, revealed more to me than just the outer landscape. Maybe it was the way my eye caught the shapes of beings looking back at me from the rocks, maybe it was the intensity of the silence and the raw forces that were at play.» https://www.thomasshor.com/copy-of-sculpture-garden-of-the-god